WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Concert-goers in Las Vegas dragged the wounded to safety on anything they could find-- pieces of fence, wheelbarrows, beverage carts.
But some of those heroes are frustrated that firefighters were staged so far away.
Air Force veteran Mark Lacy was there with his wife and a friend as the concert went from joy to terror.
“We just started identifying the deceased and the injured and started pulling tables and pulling carts, beverage carts for temporary stretchers,” Lacy said.
He understands fire commanders wanted to protect firefighters and paramedics from being shot at, but he's frustrated that they were staged about a block from the scene.
“I believe many lives could have been saved. The majority of the individuals bled out where they were hit, or bled out in the staging area,” he said.
“You have to balance the risk to the responder to the benefit to the public,” said Chief John Oates, of the East Hartford, Connecticut Fire Department, who has spent a lot of time thinking about the issue. He says the faster you can stop the bleeding, the more people will survive. “I'm sure (Lacy’s) frustration is shared and echoed by every single first responder."
Ever since Columbine in 1999, police have sped up their tactics to neutralize active shooters. Firefighters are adjusting, too. More and more departments have medics trained to team up with police to race into warm zones before they're completely secured.
But in Vegas, it may have simply been too dangerous.
“There was no additional help,” said Lacy. “Just average Americans. Americans doing their best with what they had.”
Lacy says his military training kicked in, and like several other people, he returned repeatedly to the field of fire in hopes of saving more lives.
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